Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Nyjer Morgan needs to get on base for the Nats to have a chance tonight.
So we might as well write this one off, right? Well, maybe not. There's no such thing as a sure thing in baseball, where any team can legitimately beat any other team on any given night. Lincecum has taken the loss in 17 of his 99 career games. He's going to lose No. 18 eventually. Why not tonight?
So it's a bit implausible, but certainly not out of the realm of possibility. Here, then, are five reasons the Nats COULD win tonight's game...
1. The Nats own Tim Lincecum. OK, that may be exaggerating it a bit. The guy is a career 1-0 with a 1.77 ERA against Washington. But Lincecum did have a sub-par (by his lofty standards) outing against the Nationals last June, allowing four runs (two earned) on eight hits in 6 1/3 innings. The Nats proceeded to win that game 10-6 thanks to a late outburst against the Giants bullpen and a fine relief effort from Ron Villone.
2. Willie Harris owns Tim Lincecum. Again, a bit of an exaggeration. But Harris has had some success against "The Freak," going 3-for-10 with two doubles and a triple. That's a better track record than anyone else on the Nats roster. Note to Jim Riggleman: Play Willie tonight, and victory is assured.
3. Despite his overwhelming numbers so far, Lincecum has struggled lately. Did you see what he did last time out, against the Diamondbacks? Five runs on five hits and five walks in only five innings, his worst outing of the year. And his previous time before that, he also issued five walks. Clearly, the guy is trending downward and has seen his best days go by.
4. Lincecum doesn't hold runners on well. This is actually a legitimate point. Opposing baserunners are 8-for-8 in stolen-base attempts this season against Lincecum. If Nyjer Morgan can get on -- a big "if" considering the way he's played the last few weeks -- he's got an opportunity to wreak some havoc on the bases.
5. If Levale Speigner can beat Johan Santana, anything's possible. In five-plus seasons of Nationals baseball, there has never been a more lopsided pitching matchup than that gem from June 2007. The impossible happened that night in Minnesota. Who's to say it can't happen tonight in San Francisco?
(Editor's note: Anyone who believes the above was actual, legitimate analysis needs to get out more.)